One Dance UK Young Creative Matthew Rawcliffe in grand final of BBC Young Dancer

17 May 2019

We are delighted to announce that a former participant of the One Dance UK, Young Creatives programme, Matthew Rawcliffe, has made it through to the grand final of the prestigious BBC Young Dancer Competition.

Matthew started dancing by accidentally going to an open audition for a local pantomime in Manchester. He discovered contemporary dance in his last year of high school when he joined the Lowry CAT programme.  He took part in the One Dance UK Young Creatives programme and later joined Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. He is currently rehearsing for Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet at Sadler’s Wells as part of the Young Cast.

The One Dance UK Young Creatives programme is designed to provide young people with a platform to develop their choreographic skills and ideas and the space to be daring and brave through the creation of their own work.  It helps young people discover and explore the possibilities that creating their own dance can bring.

Matthew comments  “Young Creatives feels like so long ago! I cannot believe how time has flown. It was the first time I was given an opportunity to create my own work on another body – I cannot express how valuable the conversations and workshops around meaning and process were. It is very hard to find any opportunities at a pre-vocational level to be appreciated as an artist in this way and I’m so glad I stumbled across it – it’s definitely had a massive impact on how I work and what I now want to do!”

Matthew successfully won the BBC Young Dancer contemporary category final on 26 April, and was presented with a specially commissioned trophy, £1,000 towards furthering their dance studies and a place in the Grand Final.

The contemporary category was judged by a distinguished jury spearheaded by cross category judge Jonzi D, who was joined by choreographer and former Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre Fleur Darkin and performer, choreographer and Artistic Co-Director of Candoco Dance Company Ben Wright.  Participants of the BBC Young Dancer Competition have been mentored by leading lights and established artists form the sector, and Matthew was mentored by a former One Dance UK Trailblazer, choreographer, dancer, founder and Director of N’da Dance Company Mbulelo Ndabeni.

The Grand Final will be broadcast Live on BBC Two on 18 May. It will be presented by Ore Oduba and Anita Rani. The overall winner of the competition receives a trophy and a £3,000 cash prize to help further their dance education.